Take a moment today while watching a show or playing a game to close your eyes. What are you left with, once everything else is stripped away? The music.

Visual media like television and movies are leagues different from their written counterparts. So many different elements make the jump to moving pictures stand in a world of their own. Of those elements, the importance of music cannot be ignored.

Mass communication instructor Steven Middleton noted that otherwise fine films can fall flat without an appropriate music bed backing them up. 

“When we look back in the world of nostalgia what films to people remember? It’s projects with a great soundtrack,” Middleton said. “Think Forrest Gump, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Stranger Things.”

While music is an important element, one must use it properly. MSU band director Dwayne Dale pointed to the film “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock to demonstrate the power of sound.

In the final scene of the movie, the survivors of a group of killer birds walk out of their home and look out at the wasteland their town has become. This scene is completely void of sound, save a single bird caw.

This absence of sound brings the audience a sense of unease and makes them uncomfortable. It is a feeling that could only be achieved by silence.

A good song fits the tone of the scene and the feelings of the audience so well that they almost forget it is there.